Friday, November 7, 2008

What became of council of governments?

Meetings between mayors, county officials skimped


By JASON KAUFFMAN
Express Staff Writer

In recent years, elected officials from Blaine County and local municipalities have met together on a quarterly basis to discuss ways of tackling pressing issues in a regional fashion.

But of late, the semi-regular meetings of this group—which some have called a council of governments—have fallen by the wayside.

During the State of the Cities and County Breakfast, held at the Limelight Room in the Sun Valley Inn on Oct. 29, Sun Valley-Ketchum Chamber & Visitors Bureau Executive Director Carol Waller asked Ketchum Mayor Randy Hall why the group hasn't met recently. Her question brought out a lighthearted but earnest admission to Waller that a meeting should be held soon.

"I'll get right on that," Hall said to laughs at the breakfast meeting.

The group began to meet about three years ago, but hasn't met in the past six months to a year, Waller said during a recent interview. She said the issue resurfaced during recent Sustain Blaine meetings, during which participants noted the need for a countywide group focused on economic development.

Sustain Blaine is a separate public-private partnership working locally to promote an improved economic future for Blaine County.

Waller said the county needs a concerted and coordinated effort to improve local economic conditions that also acknowledges the many different needs in the area.

"There isn't a cookie cutter approach," she said. "The opportunities in Carey and Bellevue are very different from Ketchum and Sun Valley."

Hall seemed to acknowledge as much during his remarks at the State of the Cities and County Breakfast.

"We are a county community," he said. "In my opinion, we really do need to work harder."

Blaine County Commissioner Tom Bowman, who helped bring the various mayors and county leaders together early on, said the Ketchum mayor has indicated he may call a council of governments meeting some time in December.

"It's Randy Hall's turn to organize it," Bowman said.

Express reporter Jon Duval contributed to this story.




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